Scroll Top

Beyond problem solving

I get it.

The last couple of years have felt like a never-ending problem-solving exercise.

From a school leadership perspective, surviving the great staffing shortage and the ongoing absence challenges is taxing.  The metaphor I keep hearing is that school leadership right now is like being that plate spinner at the circus.  We’re spending so little time on so many problems that we feel like we spend little more than a brief second or two on any.

And from a teaching perspective, so many are reporting that the students are harder to engage, that conflict and defiance are more prevalent and that they just aren’t as cohesive or collaborative.  One told me that teaching feels like playing that “whack-a-mole” game at a carnival.

I get it.

But I would contend that the chief problem with staying at the circus or carnival too long is that it changes the very way we think about our work.  We start to adopt a problem-solving mindset and we focus in on issues and negativity in the very way we move through our schools and our days.

Nobody got into education to put out pointless spot fires (there’s one more metaphor for you!)

So, be careful with your mindset, ok.  Watch for a problem-solving mindset crowding out your possibility mindset.  There are some jaw-dropping possibilities on the horizon for your school if you’ll just notice them and design to take them.

In your planning for 2023, I’d like to suggest the first thing you should do is just check the mindset you have in place for that planning.

You’re better than a problem solver.

You’re a designer of preferred educational futures.  Design a worthy possibility into yours.

Keep fighting that good fight.

PS. Applications to join The Inner Circle are now open for 2023. This is an opportunity for School Leaders to be mentored personally by me across the entire school year on how to embed restorative principles in your school’s culture … for good. But be aware … places are limited to twelve seats. Don’t mess around is my advice.   

Want to subscribe to Adam’s Home Truths? Simply subscribe here.